It’s a bit like those vacation days you are saving up

And rightly so, as you deserve that two weeks-long holiday. Earning points is a default condition of signing up to most rewards programs. By joining, one actively starts to collect points, which are valuable tokens that will ultimately amount to a larger reward. So, just as a work colleague may say that any overtime will go towards holiday time, points will determine the reward one receives. It may not be a coincidence that points are a common reward system, especially for hotel chains and banks.

How can one earn points?

It’s not about the points, but it’s about their worth. Before choosing a rewards program, one should compare which one offers more monetary value per point. This can be done by simply dividing the points value by the number of points. Once the best program is identified, earning points is easy. It’s so easy that with the sheer act of signing up to a program, one usually can already earn a large amount of points. When joining a large credit card rewards program, one earns points by spending with that card. What is a little less known, is that one should always purchase through online shopping portals rather than directly from the retailer, as they offer additional rewards . These portals act as magical online closets: you are instantly redirected to your favorite retailer, but this time with the extra perk of earning points as you go. The last way to earn points is simply by purchasing products from the rewards program one is using. For example, for hotel programs, you just need to stay the night to earn points.

earn points

Not all points are created equal.

The value of a point depends on the reward program. One program might reward 100 dollars per 10,000 points, while another may give a 200-dollars worth for the same amount of points. And don’t forget - points expire (but fractional shares don’t, just sayin').

What’s your point?

Points earned by credit card should be spent mostly on traveling, as they are usually worth way more than regular retail purchases. Yes, it is so tempting to pay your latest Amazon shopping spree with points (the payment options offer it, so it must make sense, right? Wrong.), but don’t do it. Why? Because you can transfer points from one program to another thanks to transfer partnerships - or basically a way to exchange apples for oranges, or should we say an Amazon Jenga set for a flight? (this isn’t a random choice: Jenga is actually one of the bestselling products on Amazon at the time of this article). This essentially means that many programs offer to magically transform your credit card points to miles, thus taking your reward points further (literally).

Why will your future self thank you?

Points are meant to be easy to collect, so there is very little one has to do to actually start earning rewards. Everyday purchases suddenly have a meaning - and by that we mean a flight to Bali.

P.s. if are we mentioning hotels and flights too much, is probably because we need a vacation.

Extra bits:

  • Points given as a reward can feel kind of random. And that is not by chance, as the more randomly rewards are distributed, the more pleasure one derives (this is also called “intermittent reinforcement”).
  • Some people consider earning points a hobby…
  • Points are so effective as a reward that they are also used as a punishment. Just think about your driving license.